I know for a fact that Carolyn Harding, owner of Rapunzel Studio of Hair Design, was one of the initial entrepreneurs who inspired me. I remember having my first appointment at the salon, when it was on Stone Street, (likely a spiral perm….even the bangs #poodle) and thinking wow, she OWNS this place, this is her JOB. To my ten year old self this was the coolest career to have, and to be honest, I still think the same. To be able to boost both beauty and confidence in a stylish setting, fuel your creative side and chat with people all day, surrounded by Aveda products nonetheless…. However, I don’t think my nerves could actually handle the responsibility, akin to why I also would never open my own daycare, I would worry! Worry that I would burn everyone with the curling iron, worry that I would make someone’s hair fall out, or worry that my perfectionist tendancies would have me labelled as the tortoise in a salon full of hares who crank out appointments with flow and energetic zest. Whether I was in Carloyn’s chair, or her daughter Melissa’s, I don’t think they know that I’ve always had a bad case of job envy and such an appreciation for what they are able to do at Rapunzel! As evidenced by the longevity and evolution of Rapunzel Studio of Hair Design, Carolyn is certainly a prime example of someone following her arrow.
Through the work I do I often come in contact with someone just about to launch a business or launch a further aspect of their business, knowing they are on the edge of growth. Take us back to that very first day when you opened your salon, how were you feeling?
On the day I opened I was both excited and full of trepidation, I had returned to Ontario after spending a number of years in northern Alberta and decided to settle in a community I’d only visited a few times in the past. I guess I’m a risk taker because who is crazy enough to open a salon with no connections, no clients!
Being an entrepreneur and taking risks goes hand in hand, what are some ways you overcome fear and just go for it?
I guess I answered this in the previous response! And yes, entrepreneurship and risk taking definitely go hand in hand, not for the faint of heart! At the end of the day, the buck (or lack thereof), stops with you. Wanting to control your own workplace destiny is great, when all is going well. Staying focused and not giving in to doubt is of utmost importance. Life balance is key and for that I have another passion, yoga!
How has Rapunzel changed over the years?
Rapunzel has grown from three chairs to six and we have full esthetic services. The salon is in its third location, growing each time, both in physical size and in staff and services.
What services would you say have grown in popularity?
Hair colour is definitely a huge part of our business where perms were more popular when we opened. Of late, we’ve seen a demand for eyelash extensions. They are amazing!
What are three things you place high on the priority list in running your business?
People, people, people. Staff first, then clients, understanding that your staff are your primary clients is absolutely necessary, if there is dissension, your clients will feel it.
As many of us know, your daughter started working with you years ago! Working with family can sometimes present challenges, how have you ensured that it strengthened and not hindered your relationship?
In both my personal and professional relationship with my daughter I believe that if I’m not asked for advice I don’t need to give it! I must add that my daughter Melissa makes that incredibly easy by being so competent and conscientious!
Business is well…business. It’s serious! How do you make sure to add fun into the day to day work that needs to get done?
Let’s face it, if you don’t realize that getting to hang out with awesome people, both staff and clients, and being a part of their image making is really a privilege and a lot of fun, 99% of the time, you should find another career!
Often entrepreneurs can’t help but get their hands into other “side hustles”….are you involved in any other ventures?
Of course! I teach yoga at the amazing Ledger Room and continue my yoga training whenever an opportunity presents itself; and I sell Chocosol chocolate. I think that’s balance!
What do you love most about your community?
I love the connections I have with my friends and amazing business community, the two can’t help but overlap. I also love that my dream of seeing this block that we are located on revitalized with interesting and diverse businesses and people. I love the art that I have as a result of my connections to Heather Haynes, Katherine Christensen, Jan Winton and Rob Loree, and a new piece by Kelly Treptow. The other thing that I love is the live music that is readily available in this town. We are so lucky!
Last question, and just for fun, tell us something about yourself that may surprise people!
I’m not sure that there is much left to surprise people about me. I’m an open book.
Book in at Rapunzel today, don’t be afraid to try something new….but especially NEVER be afraid to take some time for yourself!